On a day the Samajwadi Party (SP) once again dared the Congress by releasing a list of five more candidates for the Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh, the Congress put up a brave face and tried to play it cool.
Confident that the SP would return to the negotiating table as stakes are high for it in UP (even though the state is equally important for them), the Congress leaders maintained that the move had little to do with the UP and more to do with other issues. These include the disproportionate assets case against party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, spectrum issue and gas supply to Dadri plant. The SP also wants land for office in Delhi and a share of seats in Maharashtra and some other states.
“Most of these are not political issues…we cannot face the liability of a scam. We don’t want to close shop,’’ said a Congress leader.
Congress’ UP in-charge Digvijay Singh and state unit chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi to discuss the next move.
“All options are open, including of adjustments, talks, alliance and withdrawal,’’ Singh said. He admitted that the spirit of seat-sharing was diluted “to some extent’’ with the SP’s unilateralism.
Even as the alliance showed up cracks, the SP inducted former UP state Congress unit vice-president Mohammed Aslam Khan. Former union minister Ajay Singh and Rajendra Yadav, too, joined the party.
It has decided to field sitting member Kirti Vardhan Singh from Gonda. The Congress wanted the seat for rebel SP member Beni Prasad Verma. The SP fielded Riaz Ahmed from Pilibhit, Shahid Manzoor from Meerut, Ram Kishun Yadav from Chandouli and Raj Kishore Singh from Basti.
Now, only 29 seats are open for negotiations and of these, four are with the SP.